Snorri Sturluson

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{son, year, death}
{god, call, give}
{war, force, army}
{government, party, election}
{land, century, early}
{language, word, form}
{theory, work, human}
{school, student, university}
{water, park, boat}
{law, state, case}

Snorri Sturluson[1] (1179 – 23 September 1241) was an Icelandic historian, poet, and politician. He was twice elected lawspeaker at the Icelandic parliament, the Althing. He was the author of the Prose Edda or Younger Edda, which consists of Gylfaginning ("the fooling of Gylfi"), a narrative of Norse mythology, the Skáldskaparmál, a book of poetic language, and the Háttatal, a list of verse forms. He was also the author of the Heimskringla, a history of the Norwegian kings that begins with legendary material in Ynglinga saga and moves through to early medieval Scandinavian history. For stylistic and methodological reasons, Snorri is often taken to be the author of Egil's saga.

As a historian and mythographer, Snorri is remarkable for proposing the theory (in the Prose Edda) that mythological gods begin as human war leaders and kings whose funeral sites develop cults (see euhemerism). As people call upon the dead war leader as they go to battle, or the dead king as they face tribal hardship, they begin to venerate the figure. Eventually, the king or warrior is remembered only as a god. He also proposed that as tribes defeat others, they explain their victory by proposing that their own gods were in battle with the gods of the others.

Contents

Life

Early biography

Snorri Sturluson was born into the wealthy and powerful Sturlungar family of the Icelandic Commonwealth, in 1179. His parents were Sturla Þórðarson[2] of Hvamm and Guðný Böðvarsdóttir.[3] He had two older brothers, Þórðr Sturluson (the oldest) and Sighvatr Sturluson.

By a quirk of circumstance he was raised from the age of three (or four) by Jón Loftsson, a relative of the Norwegian royal family, in Oddi, Iceland. As Sturla was trying to settle a lawsuit with Father Páll Sölvason, the latter's wife lunged suddenly at him with a knife, intending, she said, to make him like his hero Odin (who was one-eyed), but bystanders deflected the blow to the cheek. The resulting settlement would have beggared Páll. Loftsson intervened in the Althing to mitigate the judgement and to compensate Sturla, offered to raise and educate Snorri.

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